Tagged: red like r e a d

birthday continues!





ok since I’m fucking up and taking the night off work again, let me throw this out there.

I’ve been thinking more and more about how I can help sex workers, and myself.  Like what can I do that would fill a need?

When I was 17—and this is something I want to write about, possibly as a preface to the oral history that’s on hold right now—I started volunteering for Danzine.  I always, always knew I wanted to be a sex worker.  I grew up poor and that feeling of desperation never goes away, I don’t think.  Idk if it’s gone away for any of you let me know, certainly my refusal to work is costing me financial and mental security.

But Danzine was a grassroots organization by and for sex workers.  They started one of the first needle exchanges in Portland after Outside In’s (where I also volunteered for a while), they did community outreach, and had a phone tree to collect bad date info and put it into a list that they spread around for workers to use, and most of all they had a monthly (then bimonthly, then quarterly) magazine where they spread health information and workers rights info and how to work abroad, &c&c&c.

That was the early 00s tho and it’s a different climate now.  It’s different here. We tried to start a union once at the russian club and it went terribly, it fell apart worse than Danzine did (altho danzine had a much stronger and longer run).

I don’t know how to help us and this is one of the only things I feel super passionate about. Sex work.  The history of sex work, labour rights, our lives, our stories, our rights.

yesterday adrienne suggested social work school or sociology.  Sarah has that article on how there’s enough clueless academics studying sex work, there should be more sex workers, but if there’s one thing I know it’s that being out is costly. I was a strong minded teenager with no nuance so I’ve forced myself to be out, no takebacks, and I’ve spent the past few years trying to remove what traces I can.

Fuck phys-ed

Ok in my 6th grade gym class part of passing was based on a test & one of the tests was name the patriots & I cheated & wrote drew Bledsoe—but that was it that was all I knew. Not that there was any chance of me passing gym anyway.

And look at me now I can lift my entire body upside down and backwards and hang upside down in a split so that’s cool.

What’s my name again?

“Hey guys, how’s it going?”

“Bitchin’.  What about you?”

“Oh, it’s going.  What’s your name?”

“I’m [Dan].”

“[Greg]. What’s your name?”


“No it’s not! Fine, I’m Brown.”

“Brown!  That’s a new one.  I like brown, it’s one of my favourite colours after red.”

“Yeah yeah.  What’s your real name?”

“Red.  But it’s spelled Read.”

“Yeah right.  No, really, what is it?”

What is this insistence on authenticity that some guys have? Do they know where they are?  They want to go to the fantasy factory and then focus so hard on making sure they have an authentic experience (unlike everyone else, because they are more special and knowing) that they miss the whole point and wear everyone—including their friends, out.

“It’s Commiepinko.” Dimple at them.  Come on asshole, get won over and stop being such a chore.

They both laugh. “I bet you say that all the time.”

“Only because it’s my real name.”

“Yeah, right.  And how many guys even get it?  I bet it goes right over their heads!”

“Hi, how’s it going?”

“Just great, what’s your name?”

“Red!  And yours?”

“That’s not your real name!  I’m Blue.”

“No, it’s my last name.  My first is Commiepinko.”

“So your parents were socialists?”

“Oh yes, died-in-the-wool.”

“Well, you’re not a very good socialist, are you?  This is a very capitalist establishment.”

“Oh, you caught me.  Being all hypocritical and all.”

He looks satisfied.

“So how about aiding me in my accumulation of capital?  Are you ready for a dance?”


“Hey, how are you?”

“Better now!

“What’s your name?”

“[John], what’s yours?”


“Red! Really?”

“Yes, but my first name is Commiepinko.  Are you ready for a dance?”

“Oh Commiepinko, yes.  Let’s go.”

Dance happens.

“Oh, Commiepink. Oh.” I’m feeling too uptight and grouchy to really onomatopoeize. We also talk about his job, he’s a professor at my university, although not my department.  Whew!  I tell him about the time one of my professors came in, but it wa a big class and I look fairly different in school.  Incognito.

Three dances later:

“Commiepinko, that was wonderful.  Just wonderful.” [1]

[1] To bring you up to date, a week later I saw him at a distance with his kids while I was walking my dog.  I kept my face very blank and he went the opposite direction. I think we’re neighbours.